The Australian Government recently commissioned the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap to support future investment decisions in research infrastructure. This aim is to ensure Australian researchers can access world class major national research infrastructure.
Submissions for the issues paper closed in mid September. APO made a public submission which is available here. The submissions should be made public soon although they don't seem to be available just yet - check the consultation page for updates.
The issues paper asked about the types of research infrastructure to be supported and the benefits, ethical and procedural issues, data and subject specialisations etc. The APO submission did not answer all questions but did address quite a few given our very broad interest in policy issues across the social sciences, sciences, health, engineering and humanities disciplines.
The following is an extract from the APO submission to the opening question:
Many of the policy and research imperatives facing Australia in the coming decades are complex, multidisciplinary and beyond the capacity of any one sector – whether it is education, government, industry or civil society – to address effectively. Issues such as sustainable urban growth, regional economic development, social cohesion and national security, ehealth, Indigenous reconciliation, climate change adaptation, changing education and employment needs, transport, digital technologies and many more, involve researchers across the sciences, social sciences and the humanities and require engagement and participation from industry, government, civil society and the general public.
To undertake this work involves sources that are highly varied, existing in both digital and physical forms and in a wide range of formats, from historical and archival documents, artefacts and objects to large scale data sets and visualisations. Research data and primary sources may be produced or owned by researchers and institutions themselves, generated by machinery or located in institutions and archives around the world, or be scatted across federal, state and local governments, civil society organisations (CSOs), industry and business.
Grey literature is a term used to describe publications produced and disseminated directly by organisations, including government departments and agencies, academic research centres, NGOs, think tanks and industry – in academic terms ‘non-traditional research objects’ or NTROs. They are an essential part of the policy process, providing the evidence-base for many policy decisions. Grey literature is widely recognised as essential to the research process in health, criminology, archaeology, engineering, environmental science and many other disciplines. Recent research indicates that grey literature reports are the most used and important source of policy and practice related research1 and grey literature’s use value in Australia could be as high as $30 billion p.a1. One of the challenges presented by grey literature is that it does not flow through traditional publishing channels and is therefore dispersed and disaggregated across the internet, difficult to find and evaluate and often lost in what has been described as a digital black hole.